On Friday night, the final “Jeopardy!” episode that was hosted by Alex Trebek before his death aired. Prior to the episode airing, “Wheel Of Fortune” host Pat Sajak spoke out to pay tribute to his friend Trebek.
“No one admires what he accomplished more than I do,” Sajak, 74 told People Magazine of Trebek. “I know a bit about what it takes. He was terrific. In terms of courage and grace under pressure, no one was better.”
Sajak and his longtime cohost Vanna White recently opened up to Entertainment Tonight about their relationship with Trebek.
“I knew Alex for almost 40 years, and he’s just been a good friend,” said White, 63. “Through the years, I have gotten to know his wife and his kids and he is just part of the family.”
“Just on a professional level, I have been at this a long time and I really admire what he has done, and he had done so much,” Sajak continued. “When I started [Wheel of Fortune]… Alex had already done a half a dozen, maybe more, game shows here and in Canada. He has done a bunch of them, and was always highly professional and was like the perfect match for his show… As a fellow professional, the admiration is off the charts.”
Trebek died on November 8, ten days after filming his last “Jeopardy!” episode, following a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Starting on Monday, former “Jeopardy!” champion Ken Jennings will begin his stint guest hosting the game show while producers figure out who Trebek’s replacement will be.
Jennings said that taking over as host has been “dizzying,” and knows that viewers will probably have a hard time seeing him at the hosting instead of their beloved Trebek.
“I understand better than anybody that these are very big shoes to fill,” Jennings added. “I expect people to be a little discontented when they see me. I’m right there with them. The only thing I can do is to try doing the job the best I can.”
After Jennings, the next guest host is scheduled to be Katie Couric. There will be a wide variety of guest hosts for the show over the coming months as producers figure out a permanent replacement with Trebek.